Doctor Who Cuttings Archive

It's the ghost of Christmas past

From The Doctor Who Cuttings Archive
Jump to navigationJump to search

No image available. However there is a transcription available.

Do you have an image? Email us:


SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS: Matt Smith is joined in The Dr Who special by stars Michael Gambon and Katherine Jenkins ...present and future as Scrooge faces Dr Who Now Dr Who is the spirit of Christmas David Stephenson talks to the all-star cast of Britain's favourite festive family television extravaganza, and asks writer Steven Moffat what he would give the doctor for Christmas

DOCTOR WHO is now the complete Christmas TV treat. The audience numbers may never reach the heights of a Morecambe And Wise Christmas special, but the nation's favourite science fiction character now has a firm place in the festive schedule with millions of fans. This is the fourth Christmas special since the show was revived, and the episode, A Christmas Carol, is unashamedly seasonal: it's very loosely based on the Charles Dickens' classic with its very own Scrooge (Sir Michael Gambon), the Time Lord wears a Santa hat and slides down the chimney and debutante actor and singer Katherine Jenkins performs a new and evocative Christmas carol, composed by Murray Gold. Oh, and there's also a shark, a rather large one, which will drive the children behind the sofa. A shark in Doctor Who? As one younger member of the audience at the screening observed: "There wasn't an alien in that episode." Well, apart from the Doctor himself.

The story is set on Christmas Eve when Amy (Karen Gillan) and Rory (Arthur Darvill), celebrating their honeymoon, find themselves trapped on a stricken space liner which is plummeting through banks of thick, icy fog to the surface of a planet below.

There we find Gambon's evil Kazran Sardick, a rich but lonely old miser who rules Sardicktown and is the only man who can save the ship. Enter Matt Smith's Doctor who must "save Kazran's soul" and show him that life is worth living by taking him back to his childhood (Laurence Belcher plays the young Kazran). This isn't easy, especially when the Doctor needs to overcome a killer shark. It really is Jaws meets Dickens.

Has creator Steven Moffat gone completely bonkers? It's what the show is all about, he says. "Well, the baseline of Doctor Who is about a man who lives in a telephone box and saves the universe in a bow tie, so you have to go some to up that. So if you're going to do a Christmas special for Christmas Day, based on the fact that the audience have had a selection box for breakfast, and are probably drunk, you have to move it on a bit. Actually, a normal episode of Doctor Who wouldn't be enough at that point."

Moffat wrote the episode in a Los Angeles hotel. "It really is the dullest place on earth, not nuts at all, so that shouldn't have influenced it really. And because it was so hot, I had to turn up the air conditioning and listen to a lot of Christmas carols. Christmas specials have to be emotional. You have to laugh and cry. The original Christmas Carol story is sort of the whole package."

Katherine Jenkins, at the centre of a love story in the special, was nervous about watching her first performance. "My heart was almost thumping out of my chest. It was a bit like turning up on the set on the first day, which was pretty nerve wracking, too.

"It was amazing but very frightening." Even scarier, she suggests, than singing for the Pope.

"You know, I'm nervous when I cannot speak. I'm the chattiest person going, but I spent the entire day on set being very quiet. But I shouldn't have worried because everyone in the Doctor Who family made me so welcome. They made me feel that it was something that I could do."

Speaking about her costume, she says: "My character comes from a family with really no money so my dress is very simple; it's a long cotton and lace dress with woollen sleeves and I also wear boots. It's looks like many layers of Victorian underwear!"

Matt Smith, the 11th Time Lord, is complimentary about her performance. "Do you know, it never seemed for a moment that she hadn't acted before. She was very diligent, too, accessing real emotion, and I'm convinced that she will go on to act in other things." Moffat jokes: "Forget the Pope; she could get a part in Casualty!"

But were they real tears from Jenkins? "I have to admit they did use a bit of balm in my eyes to start them, but actually I'm a real cry baby. Once I got going I quite enjoyed having a good old sob! And I cried a lot."

This time last year Matt Smith was sitting at home with his family watching David Tennant as Doctor Who, knowing he had the role and had already filmed scenes. "I watched it with Mum and Dad. Yes, it was all a bit odd. I'm thinking, 'I'm going to turn into Doctor Who', but while I'm watching it, I'm thinking, 'Please don't hate me!'." Smith, the youngest Doctor yet, became instantly famous in the role. "I don't know about that, but you're more emotional.

have to and cry' instantly recognisable. That side of the job is only as drastic as you make it. Of course the kids come up to you, and they're honest and frank. I love it."

The Doctor continues to strike out with the girls. Moffat says: "I think all men are secretly probably rubbish with girls. There is no pause button with the Doctor, he just sort of says it. 'You're smiling at me, what am I doing now?' He's got this young body but he's 900 years old! It's hard work for him."

Smith agrees: "He's not very good with girls. It's funnier that way. But he does have some luck with Marilyn Monroe in this episode. He does all right in his spare time! But the nub is how he can't get human relationships. 'Marriage! What's that?'."

For the Doctor who has everything, what would they buy him for Christmas? "You don't have to give him anything, he's got all time and space, the Tardis. It's the ideal life," says Moffat. Smith adds: "A pet I think. An otter! I'd also like to do an episode under water."

Sharks. Now otters. Doctor Who becomes more alien by the day.

Doctor Who: A Christmas Carol, Christmas Day, 6pm, BBC1

'Christmas specials must be emotional. You have to laugh and cry'

GRAPHIC: TIME TRAVELLER: Laurence Belcher as the young Kazran "Scrooge character", played by Michael Gambon, left, watched by Dr Who Matt Smith

LOVE STORY: Katherine Jenkins made her acting debut in A Christmas Carol

Disclaimer: These citations are created on-the-fly using primitive parsing techniques. You should double-check all citations. Send feedback to

  • APA 6th ed.: (2010-12-19). It's the ghost of Christmas past. Sunday Express p. 47.
  • MLA 7th ed.: "It's the ghost of Christmas past." Sunday Express [add city] 2010-12-19, 47. Print.
  • Chicago 15th ed.: "It's the ghost of Christmas past." Sunday Express, edition, sec., 2010-12-19
  • Turabian: "It's the ghost of Christmas past." Sunday Express, 2010-12-19, section, 47 edition.
  • Wikipedia (this article): <ref>{{cite news| title=It's the ghost of Christmas past | url= | work=Sunday Express | pages=47 | date=2010-12-19 | via=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=20 February 2020 }}</ref>
  • Wikipedia (this page): <ref>{{cite web | title=It's the ghost of Christmas past | url= | work=Doctor Who Cuttings Archive | accessdate=20 February 2020}}</ref>